New Placement

Whitechapel Gallery, London

We are pleased to announce the recipient of the Asymmetry Curatorial Fellowship at Whitechapel Gallery, London. Zoe Diao, a Chinese scholar and curator currently based in New York, has been awarded the six-month Fellowship, which begins on 20 September 2021.

The Curatorial Fellowship at Whitechapel Gallery is one of three Asymmetry placements that will begin this autumn in London in partnership with leading UK institutions. In October, Asymmetry will induct their first Scholar onto the ‘Advanced Practices’ PhD programme at Goldsmiths, University of London, and their second Curatorial Writing Fellow at the Chisenhale Gallery, London.


The Asymmetry Curatorial Fellowship at Whitechapel Gallery is offered to one mid-career curator who identifies with Chinese culture and heritage, based in the region or internationally. The programme provides the curator with a unique opportunity to gain training, skills, and experience in the curatorial workings of Whitechapel Gallery, which has a strong track record of providing training for curators, including through its new MA 'Curating Art and Public Programmes' with London South Bank University.

Additionally, the Fellow will join Delfina Foundation’s renowned residency programme, which will offer further professional opportunities as well as accommodation.

Selected from a high-quality shortlist following an Open Call, Zoe will focus on two related projects – conducting research on art dealers in the 1970s who supported the development of artists way beyond any commercial remit, and contributing to the delivery of a major exhibition about modern and contemporary artists' studios across the world. Additionally, she will have the opportunity to contribute to Delfina Foundation’s programme by presenting her research at internal events and public programmes.

“Zoe’s profile as a curatorial practitioner, researcher and writer stands out as her work reflects both her academic and her practical skillsets which she has acquired across a range of disciplines and within different cultural contexts. We are excited to welcome Zoe as the next curatorial Fellow at Whitechapel Gallery and look forward to learning where her projects take her.”

– Yan Du, Founder and Director of Asymmetry

“We are delighted to be able to partner with Asymmetry to offer this Fellowship to a talented emerging curator. Zoe's strong background in exhibition-making combined with rigorous academic training and research on East Asian artists provide a solid foundation for the work she will undertake at Whitechapel Gallery. We are looking forward to furthering cross-cultural dialogues with her.”

– Lydia Yee, Chief Curator, Whitechapel Gallery


Zoe Diao (b. 1989 Changchun, China) is a scholar and curator living and working in New York. She is currently interested in environmental humanities, material culture and collecting history. Zoe received a BA Art History from China Academy of Art, Hangzhou in 2012. With support from China Scholarship Council, she pursued her postgraduate study in the Department of Archaeology, Durham University, UK and received her first MA in 2014. From 2014 to 2018, Zoe worked as Assistant Curator at Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA), Beijing, was a specialist at Xiling Yinshe Auction, and worked as Exhibition Manager at Long March Space, Beijing. Among the many exhibitions she worked on, she co-curated William Kentridge: Notes Towards a Model Opera (2015) with UCCA Director Philip Tinari, and curated New Directions: Li Ming (2015-16).

Zoe moved to New York in 2018 and earned a Masters in Art in Museum Anthropology from Columbia University in 2019. Her graduation thesis focused on East Asian artists in New York during the 1950s to 1960s. She is currently a contracted associate researcher of global art at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, where she was a curatorial intern in 2018-19. She is also currently working as a researcher for an eminent art historian. In the past ten years, Zoe has translated and edited several art publications, including Inside a Book a House of Gold: Artist’s Edition for Parkett (2012); Six Drawing Lessons (2015); Peter Doig: Cabins and Canoes, The Unreasonable Silence of the World (2017) and M+ Sigg Collection (2021).

Whitechapel Gallery
Delfina Foundation